Man Utd star sends Portugal to WC

Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal proved too much for North Macedonia to seal a spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals after running out 2-0 winners in the playoff final on Tuesday night.

Manchester United duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes in addition to Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva of Manchester City headlined the Portuguese starting eleven.

For North Macedonia, a certain Aleksandar Trajkovski started in their front-four and former Leeds United fullback Ezgjan Alioski featured too.

It was a cagey opening, however the outfit of Fernando Santos began to stamp authority as Fernandes combined with Ronaldo to break the deadlock in the middle of the first half.

The 2016 European champions continued to dominate thereafter and watched Fernandes bagged a brace midway in the second half through a first-time finish from Diogo Jota’s supply.

Portugal still had chances thereafter to add on their lead through Ronaldo in particular, but it wasn’t utilised thus 2-0 was enough to land Santos’s men a ticket at the World Cup finals.

Poland overcame Sweden to join Portugal at this year’s World Cup finals with a 2-0 win in the night’s other playoff final.

Bayern Munich’s star forward Robert Lewandowski returned from Poland’s friendly with Scotland as did goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, while Sweden had veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench.

Sweden, who needed extra-time to eliminate the Czech Republic in the semi-final playoffs last Thursday, managed to hold the Polish at the break.

Thereafter, the host grabbed a foothold on proceedings through a conversion from the penalty-spot by none other than Lewandowski.

Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski went and helped the Poles to a second late in the second half after the Swedes failed to clear the lines following a scramble in the box.

With Ibrahimovic introduced in the final quarter of the match, there was no preventing Czeslaw Michniewicz’s side progression to the Qatar World Cup in November this year.-kickoff